12 Female-Authored Mystery Books to Read on the Way to Your Destination

by | Aug 27, 2018

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Last updated on April 8th, 2024

There’s nothing like a good mystery novel to capture your imagination on the way to an exciting destination. True, you are watching an exciting plot unfold. However, if you are reading the work of these 12 writers you will also be getting a lesson in the geography and the culture of the place. What are the characters eating, which streets are they walking, which words are they using? What are they wearing? There is no better way to augment your research on a city or country than by enjoying these mysteries, their heroes and heroines all created by females.

1. CALIFORNIA, USA — Sue Taylor Grafton is a contemporary American author of detective novels. She is best known as the author of the ‘alphabet series’ ‘A is for Alibi,’ etc featuring private investigator Kinsey Millhone in the fictional city of Santa Teresa, California. CLICK!

2. CHICAGO, USA — Author Sarah Paretsky writes detective novels about a gutsy fictional character called Vic Warshawski, a private investigator from Chicago. CLICK!

3. ENGLAND AND SCOTLAND — American author Deborah Crombie has garnered tremendous praise — and has been nominated for virtually every major mystery award — for her police procedurals featuring Scotland Yard detectives Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James, who are personally and professionally entwined. CLICK!

4. ENGLAND – British born Jacqueline Winspear now lives in the USA. She has created a detective named, ‘Maisie Dobbs’ and her mysteries are set in Britain in the late 1920s and early 1930s, with the roots of each story set in the Great War, 1914-1918. CLICK!

5. BRITAIN – Susan Elizabeth George is an American author of mystery novels set in Great Britain. Eleven of her novels featuring her main character, Inspector Lynley, have been adapted by the BBC as The Inspector Lynley Mysteries. CLICK!

6. VENICE, ITALY – Donna Leon is the American author of a series of crime novels set in Venice and featuring the fictional hero Commissario Guido Brunetti. CLICK!

7. EGYPT – Mystery writer Elizabeth Peters created the character, Amelia Peabody Emerson who is the protagonist of the Amelia Peabody series, a series of historical mystery novels set in Egypt. CLICK!

8. QUEBEC, CANADA – Louise Penny is a Canadian author of mystery novels set in the Canadian province of Quebec and focusing on her character, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Quebec Provincial Police. CLICK!

9. SASKATCHEWAN, CANADA – Gail Diane Bowen was born in Toronto, Canada. Her mystery novels feature Joanne Kilbourn, a widowed mother, political analyst and university professor who finds herself occasionally involved in criminal investigations in various parts of Saskatchewan, Canada. Many have been adapted as Canadian television movies by Shaftesbury Films. CLICK!

10. SAUDI ARABIA – Zoë Ferraris is an American novelist. In 1991 she married a man from Saudi Arabia and lived with her in-laws for nine months. Her time in Saudi Arabia is the background for the three crime novels she has written. ‘Finding Nouf’ (2008) follows main character Nayir ash-Sharqi, a Palestinian guide, as he attempts to solve the murder of a young girl. CLICK!

11. PARIS – American mystery writer Cara Black is best known for her Aimée Léduc mystery novels featuring a Paris-based, modern, female, private investigator. Her bestselling mystery series is called Aimée Léduc Investigations. CLICK!

12. IRELAND – Writer Tana French was born in the United States but lives in Dublin, Ireland. She is an award-winning Irish novelist and theatrical artist who writes mystery thrillers. The resourceful sleuth this writer has created for her readers is Detective Cassie Maddox. CLICK!

Our readers tell us about these women …

NEVADA BARR is an award-winning novelist and New York Times best-selling author. She has a growing number of mysteries to her credit as well as numerous other books, short stories, and articles. She currently resides in New Orleans with her husband, four magical cats, and two adorable dogs. Engaging and down-to-earth, Ms. Barr entwines the cycle of nature throughout her mystery books with her character, Anna Pigeon, a National Park Ranger. For more information: www.nevadabarr.com/booklist.htm

DANA STABENOW is an American author born in Anchorage and raised on a 150-foot fish tender in the Gulf of Alaska. Watch this video to learn about her Kate Shugak series. This fictional female sleuth that Dana has created is an Aleut who lives on a 160-acre homestead in a generic National Park in Alaska. See: www.stabenow.com/novels/kate-shugak


Evelyn started Journeywoman in 1994, and unknowingly became the world's first female travel blogger. She inspired a sisterhood of women, a grassroots movement, to inspire women to travel safely and well, and to connect women travellers around the world. She passed away in 2019, but her legacy lives on.


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